What are they?
The use of plants and derivatives for healing purposes was born practically with the man himself and, handed down from generation to generation, has progressed over the millennia, in various civilizations and cultures.
In non-western societies, plant extracts have been used effectively as herbal remedies for thousands of years.
Of course these remedies can not replace scientific techniques and drugs developed by western medicine but often can be an important integration into our health program.
The supplements based on plant extracts consist exclusively of a drug or a vegetable preparation. The active plant substances are complex mixtures of chemical compounds (phytocomplexes) and not single chemical components as in the case of the majority of the drugs currently in use (monomolecular drugs); from this it derives that plant products possess specific characteristics deriving both from the simultaneous presence of compounds with distinct individual biological activities, and from interactions that can occur between these compounds; the result is that the phytocomplex exerts an action in the organism different from that of each of the individual compounds that make it up.
how to prepare plant extracts ?
They are obtained with methods that guarantee the standardization of the extract and provide a safe final product. The parts used to make a plant extract vary from plant to plant (leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark, rhizome, root or entire plant), since the various chemical constituents can be located in the different parts of the plant.
The drying process to which the plants are subjected serves to stop the fermentation processes that develop after harvest. Extractive methods allow greater bioavailability and stability over time and allow an easy dosage to obtain a specific therapy.
Standardization is a method of preparation that allows to obtain an extract whose natural active ingredients are qualitatively and quantitatively constant.
The titration is the quantitative assessment (usually expressed as a percentage of the dry extract) of the content of the most important active substance. The title to have a beneficial effect must not be lower than the level reported by major scientific studies. For example, the titration of ginkgo biloba must be 24% in flavonoids and 6% in triterpenic derivatives in order to obtain optimal results.